Besalu, Spain, in the heart of Catalunya, is one of the most charming, medieval cities I have ever visited. And it is also home to some of the funkiest furniture I have ever laid eyes on.
One of the quirky draws of this ancient city is it’s unusual obsession with chairs. As you wander through the narrow, gothic alleyways of the old town, you never know what you will come across. Especially if you take the time to look up on the walls of the surrounding buildings. If you keep your eyes peeled, you may find a chair (or three) jutting out from the wall, waiting for some intrepid traveler to find a way to rest their legs…though I certainly wouldn’t be climbing to such heights to try this myself.
One of the most interesting of these chairs was located just outside the unassuming studio and workshop of Kel Domenech, a local artist. Kel Domenechhas his roots in the art of cabinet making and restoration, and now showcases his talents in an eclectic line of art pieces that will be sure to expand your view on what furniture can evolve into.
I was brought to SPACE KD, Domenech’s exhibition room, by Richard Calvin, another local sculptor who also owns Charming Villas and was one of our hosts for our days in Besalu while we took part in the BlogHouse program before attending TBEX Europe in Girona. On the day we arrived in Besalu, Calvin met the group of us at Casa Marcial, the outstanding villa where we were staying, and offered to take us to visit the artist before the welcome dinner, ok, banquet, that was being prepared for us, and in part, by us, in the villa that night. It was only a short walk through the squares of Besalu to get from our villa to the workshop, located just a few meters away from the Monestir de Sant Pere.
On arrival at the workshop, we were told to look up, and there we had our introduction to the chairs of Besalu. And this was just the start, as Mr. Domenech soon welcomed us in to his gallery where he showed us his collection of art pieces and described his process, culminating in a sneak peak at his soon to be (and since) released KD051.
Domenech’s art is, in his own words, “pure eclecticism, freedom to its extreme; with the only conditioning of high self-demand to the standard of final touches. Experimenting on colours, textures, materials, measures and periods is constant, an organised explosion of creativity applied to combine art and object.” Many of the pieces on display really caught my attention, and in some cases, my curiosity, as I had to wonder just how he came up with these designs.
I have to say, I was very impressed.
My visit to the workshop and accomodation in Besalu were provided by Casa Marical and CharmingVillas.net, but all opinions expressed here are my own.